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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Emerging Pests and Pathogens Research » Research » Research Project #441178

Research Project: Ecology and Integrated Management of Ambrosia Beetles in Eastern US Orchard and Ornamental Tree Crops

Location: Emerging Pests and Pathogens Research

Project Number: 8062-22410-007-022-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2021
End Date: Aug 31, 2025

Ambrosia beetles are small wood-boring beetles that are pests in high-value nursery and orchard production systems throughout the United States. Beetles are attracted to stressed trees. The black stem borer (Xylosandrus germanus) in particular has become a pest in apple growing regions of New York State since 2013, contributing to the decline and death of newly planted apples in high density orchards. A suite of other species in the eastern United States are also in need of better management. The objectives are to predict the risk of ambrosia beetle infestations through improved understanding of beetle biology and ecology, develop novel tools to enhance the accuracy and precision of host and beetle monitoring strategies for improved management of ambrosia beetles, develop comprehensive management strategies for ambrosia beetles, determine the economics of ambrosia beetle damage and control interventions on orchard and ornamental tree crop stakeholders, and extend and transfer research-based information developed by this project to stakeholders.

Within this multi-state project, specific objectives of the ARS scientist at Ithaca will involve assessing the pathogenicity of opportunistic microbes carried on the bodies of black stem borers that may be contributing to apple decline, and testing antagonistic fungi of ambrosia beetles and their symbiotic fungi as a control tactic. Microbes will be washed from live-trapped black stem borer, cultured, and used in pathogen bioassays. Entomopathogenic fungi and mycopathogenic fungi will be used in control studies involving black stem borer and granulate ambrosia beetle. Data will be subject to appropriate statistical analyses.